In a game of few clear chances Boro were unable to match their best ever performance in the FA Cup with Maldon & Tiptree, from a division below Boro in Isthmian North, edging a tight encounter, scoring a late penalty to secure a place in Monday’s first round draw.
Conditions in Essex were unfavourable for decent football with a blustery wind throughout and heavy rain at times, and neither side managed to create much, but Maldon scored the best chance of the game leaving Boro with little time to respond
Jamie O’Donoghue was fit again after injury so Boro lined up:
Miles, Olufemi, Richards, Mitchell, Michael O’Donoghue, Dombaxe, Durojayie, Aresti, Percil, Jamie O’Donoghue, Bawling
Subs: Leblond, Sambu, McDonald, Vilcu, Djamas, Akindayini, Bessadi
Boro started the game playing up the slight incline and mainly into and increasingly strong swirling wind.
Much of the early action was in the middle third with only a couple of speculative efforts in the first quarter of an hour
Boro’s first attack of note on 20 minutes led to a corner which was cleared to the edge of the area. As a shot was fired back in, it appeared to strike the arm of a defender. The referee whistled but only to halt play for a head injury to a Maldon defender.
The next chance fell to Roman a few minutes later. Aresti caressed a ball inside the full back but as Percil reached the ball the keeper had closed the angle down and saved with his chest.
Maldon should have taken the lead close to the half hour mark. A cross from the left found McClenaghan in space 6 yards out but he planted his header well wide
Boro only had half chances in the remaining period before half time. Aresti scuffed a shot wide and Dombaxe fired over from a corner but Boro had not managed to create anything clear cut and went in level at the break.
The second half progressed in much the same vain.
Raks, who together with Mitchell was probably Boro’s best performers, first flicked a dangerous cross away and was then at the centre of a penalty appeal as the ball was crossed back in.
Boro had short periods of pressure, forcing the odd corner and winning attacking free kicks but could not convert any into chances.
It was Maldon, again, who had the best chance midway through the half as they broke from halfway. A low cross was flicked towards goal producing a diving save from Miles, even though the ref thought differently and awarded a goal kick.
As we entered the final quarter of the game Sambu and Macca came on for Bawling and Jamie to try and change their fortunes.
Olu had an effort half blocked and easily saved by the keeper, Sambu fired a snapshot high after a Macca lay off and a Boro counter attack led to a corner with Mitchell heading wide.
But Maldon were by no means on the back foot. They were putting plenty of pressure on the Boro back line. Raks and Mitchell, together with Miles, managed all that came their way, until 3 minutes from time.
A Maldon corner from the right was swung in and as a couple of bodies fell in the area the referee pointed to the spot.
Barnwell, on as a second half sub, sent Miles the wrong way and superbly planted the ball into the side netting.
Boro tried to impose some pressure on the remaining minutes, including 6 minutes of added time, but nothing materialised and Maldon managed the game to its conclusion.
A game of fleeting attacking spark was ultimately decided by the best chance either side was given.
Boro didn’t play to their potential and there will be a sense of what might have been as they didn’t force Maldon’s keeper into any save of note and won’t be in Monday’s draw for the first round.
Next Match: Tuesday 27th October 2020, Hornchurch v Haringey Borough, Isthmian League Premier, 19.45, Hornchurch Stadium, Bridge Avenue, RM14 2LX
Matchday Guidelines: https://www.hornchurchfc.com/club-information/covid-19-matchday-guidelines/